Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Matisse Bouquet

8"x8" oil Price $160
I finished a book about Matisse right before I did this painting.  It struck me how much I had been influenced from reading about how he painted and looking at reproductions of his work.  That in term got me to thinking about influences in general and how I wanted to make sure I was being influenced by people and things that are going to enhance my journey in life and art.  Later I was listening to Antrese Wood's podcast with Frank Lombardo.  It turns out that he is the one I want to be influenced by in my artwork.  That was a real revelation because I know I have been inching towards this for a long time.  I of course dug deeper and started reading his blog, which is very out of date by the way, but the information he posted last year is timeless.  The one I read was about artists and their daily routines which of course made me look at mine.  He referenced a book Daily Rituals:How Artists Work by Mason Currey. So here are my "rituals."  I get up between 7-7:30 or earlier, depending on how I slept.  I do some stuff around the house and then go to the gym where I workout, swim and socialize and get home around 11am.  I fix a concoction, you could call a "smoothie," but it is very healthy, not very pretty.  I check my emails or read while I drink it, or do more household stuff.  Then I go to the studio and work and usually stay there until around 4:30-5, but sometimes later depending on how in to it I am or if I have a deadline.  I also try to get a walk in the woods in there somewhere too.  I can't really call myself a full-time painter, because I usually just paint in the afternoon, but I am a full time artist because I spend the evenings hanging out with my husband (who has a job) and doing art business or reading (about art) or preparing things for another painting.  Sometimes we go out to a concert or I meet with some other artists or go to life drawing, or teach, but you get the picture.  My weekends are scheduled differently, and are more flexible, but they have a rhythm as well.  So back to Lombardo.  He quoted William James with the phrase, “effortless custody of automatism.” He was referring to routine giving freedom not to have to think about daily details.  He also mentioned the supposition that Edison had numerous versions of the same suit so he didn't have to think about what he was wearing.  I am so like that.  I have always wanted a uniform, and kind of have that in a way.  I love necklaces and use them for my aristic fashion statement, but black leggings and a black tunic works for me in about every situation.  Anyway, I am really happy with my Matisse-like painting.  I deliberately went back in and added more detail just to make it mine.  I don't want to a copy-cat, just slightly influenced.  Go Figure!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Serena in Gold Shawl

12"x16" oil Price $480
I am tall.  When I was young and healthy and relatively cute, some people would say to me, "you should be a model."  No one ever said, "You should be a jockey.  You should be a gymnast.  or You should be a airline stewardess."  I am so glad I didn't attempt to be a model.  I am sure I would not be where I am today if I had and I really like where I am at today.  No one ever told me I should be a doctor or lawyer or dentist or airplane pilot either.  Honestly, all I ever really wanted to be was an artist.  I wish I had been mature enough and believed in myself enough to have pushed to go to art school and to have been driven enough to succeed.  Problem is, I wasn't.  So if I had gone, I probably would have blown it.  I needed to go through all the trials and made all those stupid mistakes to have learned how to appreciate the opportunities I was given.  I definitely learned from the school of hard knocks.  I wasted a lot of wonderful opportunities and got derailed by my bad choices, but somehow it all worked out. I learned to work hard and be frugal as a young adult by living on "The Farm," an alternative farming community. Later I became a teacher so that, as a single mom, I could see my kids during the day.  Being a teacher was certainly an opportunity to fly by the seat of my pants, but I did learn to be disciplined and efficient.  I learned to identify the objective and find different ways of communicating it.  I ended up being a fairly decent teacher and I learned to love much about the job. Honestly my chance to be an artist came when I married a very stable, honest, man with integrity who played by the rules and had a good  and stable job (pretty much the opposite of me).  It also really helped my parenting.  So when anyone asks me how long it takes to do a painting, I can answer them honestly and say it took a lifetime.  Go Figure!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Figuratively Speaking- The Fair

8"x10" watercolor Price $50
I saw him at the Tunbridge World's Fair.  That sounds like the beginning to a Country Western song.  I hated country music when I was a young teen.  We made fun of it for being whiny and brokenhearted.  That was before my heart was ever really broken.  Somewhere along the line I started to like it. Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, Charlie Daniels, Emmy Lou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, even Dolly Parton snuck into my heart.  Dolly Parton is so much not my thing,  her big hair, big makeup, big....figure, her marketing, her presentation, but gee, she is just so lovable and funny and has great musicality, and is adorably self depreciating.  Tomorrow night we are going to see the Glenn Miller Band with about 15 of our friends. (I realize this has nothing to do with Country) Several people I asked to come with us flat out hated big band music.  I love it.  It makes me want to sing and dance. My sister and I used to dance in the living room to our parents' records including Glenn Miller.  Actually that is when I fell in love with Patsy Cline. Clearly I am all over the place in my likes when it comes to music.  I love classical, some show tunes, jazz, folk, gospel, newgrass, motown, rag, blues, and I like to watch opera, but not so much just listen to it, and I am, of course, a child of rock.  Heck, I even like Dean Martin.  Maybe I am musically clueless or just confused, but music just wiggles into your soul and makes life so much richer.  Patty Casey wrote a love song to her dog who was dying.  Every time I listen to it, I cry.  Really, every time.  Some of the words are: "you taught me how to howl, and how to live with just one bowl."  I love that.  Howling is a bit like singing or reading poetry, or painting (to music)....I think I will go do that now....Go Figure!   

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Church Planes

8"x8" watercolor Price $50
I think I am an easily influenced person.  That could be really bad, but on the other hand, depending on who or what is doing the influencing, it can be a good thing.  I NEVER (yes I yelled that) let comments on Facebook influence me to have opinions or get angry!  Recently I read a book about Matisse.  I don't think I ever really got what he did until I read that book.  The next painting I did showed that influence.  It wasn't as if it looked like a Matisse, I just approached it directly, simplifying the forms and doing broad areas of color, at least in the first swipe.  It was so fun to do even if it isn't a masterpiece.  The one shown here was just a little watercolor I did at the Tunbridge World's Fair.  What caught my eye was the planes of the church and the way the sun hit in one spot.  Sometimes when I have some insight and see how I am being influenced, I can throw it off if I don't like what I see, or I can embrace it and see how it becomes part of who I am.  In a short chit chat with amazing artist, Peter Huntoon today, we talked about how to identify the things we needed to grow in our painting.  He added that it wasn't a broad, open ended growth, but growing to be more truthful, more authentic in what we say.  He was referring to what we say in our art, but it applies to what we say in general I think.   I am going to let that influence me.  I think I might have influenced him too.  He seemed in a better mood at the end of the conversation....Go Figure!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

8"x10" watercolor price $50
Yellow and Purple don't really suit me I think.  This portrait has a very vague resemblance to me, like it could be an unknown sister or fraternal twin.  I did it as a study in complementary colors.  That means that they combine to enhance the qualities of each other (thank you Webster).  They also combine to create interesting neutrals.  Originally I only used those 2 colors and white, but later I added a touch of red to the skin tones.  On the other hand, complimentary (with an "i" not an "e") refers to praise or giving something free of charge.  I know people who are very complimentary, but not very authentic.  I know people who give free of charge, like advice or their opinion, or even criticism, and it just isn't nice or helpful.  So, instead of being a complimentary person, I think I will stick with complementary and enhance the qualities of another.  Next time I do a complementary selfie though, I will try it with Christmas colors, green and red, or maybe orange and see which pair complements me the most!  Go Figure!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Ticonderoga

6"x10" watercolor $50
The Ticonderoga was the last steam powered boat on Lake Champlain.  It was a truly decked-out (pun intended) ride between Vermont and NY.  It would go one way in the day and back across in the night.  It was like a traveling hotel.  There were limited bedrooms where wealthier patrons could sleep the trip away.  When it was decommissioned Electra Havemeyer Webb purchased it.  During the winter, when the ground was completely frozen, she had tracks laid from the boat to her property in Shelburne, VT.  On a harrowing trip, they slowly dragged that huge ship overland, as there were electric lines to move and railway crossings to coordinate, plus the land started to thaw.  It's final resting place was Shelburne Museum.  Electra (love that name) was a consummate collector.  She collected, dolls, quilts, paintings, buildings, a railway station, a lighthouse and a big boat.  Today that boat is completely restored and is quite magnificent.  Electra is interesting for a number of other things, including the fact that she was the daughter of Lousine Havemeyer (wife of the sugar baron) who was best friends with Mary Cassatt (impressionist painter).  As a result, there are some wonderful paintings by Monet, Manet, Degas, Cassatt, and others at the museum.  I painted this painting from where it sits at Shelburne.  Clearly, it is not in water, but is landlocked on a slight slope.  The beauty of painting and drawing is that you can change anything you want.  One of the changes I made, was to put it in water.  There is great power in creating!  Go Figure!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Mediative Morning

8"x10" watercolor $100
The sun just peaked over the mountain top and is misted in rising fog.  It is a meditative morning. 

I kept waking up to check the clock because I had 2 granddaughters to get off to school.  Of course, I then slept in.  They had awoken in the middle of the night and came in to snuggle with me.  I felt like my nest was full.  It was a warm and wonderful feeling. I should state here that I loved it so much because I don't often get this opportunity.  After rushing the dressing, eating, brushing teeth, hair fixing routines we went out on the cool morning to wait for the bus...which didn't come, and I realized I was half hour early.  Geez it would take some practice to be good at this.  That is pretty much true for anything I guess.  My father always said, "Every parent is an amateur."  That is so true.  We are never ready for what the next twist and turn will bring.  We only mellow out by the third kid!  So now the sun is burning off the fog, the sky is blue and it promises to be an amazing day.  I am free to do what I wish.  That also is something I don't get the opportunity to do much.  Rather, I have my routines.  I guess I always have the choice, but I like feeling like my day is ordered.  Today, however I am going to go by the seat of my pants.  Maybe some new art gallery visits, maybe tracking down that wonderful watercolor artist, Jo Mackenzie (her gorgeous sunflower below)  maybe taking a hike and practice some watercolors.  Maybe I will do all of those things! Go Figure!
Jo Mackenzie watercolor

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